There was a point in time where I would always look away from the big virtuoso violinists. Specifically, I would try to avoid technical violin work. I would work more on slower pieces, most recently, Ravel's "Blues," though it had some pizzicato techniques that were new to me, was not really that difficult of a piece. However, what I would avoid were the standard pieces. I preferred to be different and play other pieces, and worked with my violin teacher in college to play music from the 20th century: sonatas, not big-name concertos.
This summer, I'm making it my goal to change that. This afternoon I'm in the midst of a long practice session focusing on some of the faster passages in Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. I remember even recently looking at TwoSet Violin's videos where they casually play this piece, to Joshua Bell performing it at the BBC Proms, to articles here on violinist.com talking about the reputation of the piece. However, even if I'm not planning on performing it or wanting to go an extra mile with it, I am very glad I'm spending time picking it apart and learning it. Standard rep has become more exciting to me now, actually playing these pieces I've listened to so many times in the past, from back when I was first truly getting into the violin. They give me a new challenge to work on. I've been focused on Tchaikovsky's and Sibelius' Violin Concertos (first movements mainly) currently, but I'm sure as the summer progresses I'll move on to some Bach, perhaps the Mendelssohn, maybe Beethoven or Brahms. Especially if I decide to go back to the 20th Century when I return to proper lessons in August, I will be glad to have started my journey working on standard rep on my own violin with my own playing.
I dunno, a bit of a lame article today... However, I also wanted to share my second episode of my new violin series, "Let's Sight-Read", where I play through the Elgar Violin Sonata and a Debussy piece orchestrated by Ravel. The Elgar I would love to return to as well sometime this summer, but I'm happy to just be working on lots of pieces and not necessarily having any huge goals at the moment.
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